- California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday asked to “immediately deploy” a United States Navy hospital ship to the Los Angeles port to assist in the coronavirus outbreak.
- The state experienced 126 new coronavirus cases, a 21% increase, within one day.
- Newsom’s office estimated that 56% of Californians, or 25.5 million people, will test positive within two months.
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California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday, asked him to “immediately deploy” a US Navy hospital ship to the Los Angeles port to assist in the coronavirus outbreak.
“California has been disproportionately impacted by repatriation efforts over the last few months,” Newsom said. “Our state and health care delivery system are significantly impacted by the rapid crease in COVID-19 cases.”
“This resource will help decompress the health care delivery system to allow the Los Angeles region to ensure that it has the ability to address critical acute care needs, such as heart attacks, and strokes or vehicle accidents, in addition to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases,” Newsom added.
The state experienced 126 new coronavirus cases, a 21% increase, within one day. As of Thursday evening, 19 people in the state have died from the coronavirus, according to The Los Angeles Times. Newsom’s office estimated that 56% of Californians, or 25.5 million people, will test positive within two months.
Newsom and city leaders have declared emergencies and enacted several measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading. San Francisco authorities mandated residents to “shelter in place” on Monday, restricting over 6 million people from non-essential travel until early April. The move was praised by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who said that his city, which has a population density similar to that of Los Angeles, should be modelled after San Francisco’s response.
Newsom’s requested ship is the USNS Mercy, one of two hospital ships being prepared to set sail to the East and West Coast. Defence Secretary Mark Esper confirmed he ordered the Navy to “lean forward” in deploying the Comfort and the USNS Mercy to help with the coronavirus response.
The Comfort, based in the East Coast at Norfolk, Virginia, is currently undergoing maintenance; while the Mercy is at the port in San Diego, California.
Navy officials said that preparations for the Comfort, which have been “expedited,” will take weeks before it is ready to assist in the East Coast. The Mercy is expected to set sail within five to 10 days to Seattle, Washington, where the second-most number of coronavirus cases are located, according to CNN. New York has the most coronavirus cases with over 5,000 while California ranks third with roughly 900 as of Thursday.
The ships are staffed by 71 civilians and up to 1,200 sailors, according to the Navy. Both ships include 12 fully-equipped operating rooms, a 1,000-bed hospital, medical laboratory, and a pharmacy. The ships also have helicopter decks for transport.
The two ships will specifically focus on trauma cases if deployed. The plan is to alleviate the burden on traditional hospitals dealing with a high number of patients with the coronavirus.
“Our capabilities are focused on trauma,” Esper said. “Whether it’s our field hospitals, whether it’s our hospital ships … they don’t have necessarily the segregated space as you need to deal with infectious diseases.”